Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Friend of Mine

is reading Philp Roth in order. Quite a task. Have you ever done that? I used to do it all the time. Or as much as possible. I read the Travis McGee series as it came out mostly but started with ones from before I found him. Read the Sjowal and Wahloo series in order afterwards. And pretty sure I read Dorothy L. Sayers  and P.D. James in order.

But someone like Roth, with that many books, would take several years, I think, unless you read nothing else. And as much as I like some of Roth, reading only him would really be tough.

Anyway, whose output did you read in order after their time.

23 comments:

Joe Barone said...

Good for that person. I remember, once upon a time, I had trouble getting through one Phillip Roth. Aren't books wonderful? They touch us all in different ways.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Some are much easier than others. NEMESIS, about polio, was a terrific book.

Ron Scheer said...

Not a series, but I once read every Milan Kundera novel, back to back.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yes, that is really what I mean, Ron.

Anonymous said...

When I first started reading Christie, ca. 1970-71, I just picked up whatever was available and read it without thought as to order. Hence I read NEMESIS before A CARRIBEAN MYSTERY, which came first. I read a few of the John D. MacDonalds at ramdon, based on which ones my mother owned. I've already mentioning read the last Van der Valk before going back and reading the earlier ones.

But once I started reading more systematically I tried wherever possible to read mystery series in order - Sayers, Marsh, etc. I certainly do it with current series.

What have I read back to back? I read the first 11 books in Powell's A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME consecutively between March 26 and April 15 of 1975, then had to wait a year for the last book to be published. (I'm astonished when I look at the list and see I finished books on April 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13 and 15.)

Actually, I see that I read six other novels and two plays in that same period of time plus a book about Powell.

The other one that comes to mind was Leon Edel's five volume biography of Henry James, which I read between January 24 and February 9, 1974. But those weren't quite consecutive as I read four other non fiction books (including LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE) in those two and a half weeks.

I only wish I could read that quickly these days.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

There is no question that we are more distracted now than earlier. This is the major reason--online putzing.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking after I wrote that: of course there was no internet then and we had to wait until the afternoon for a mail delivery.

Jeff M.

Randy Johnson said...

Robert Parker's Spenser novels. By the time I'd discovered him, about twenty-five had come out. I started at the beginning, at the library, and worked my way through up until I caught up with the new books coming out. There was one exception, LOOKING FOR RACHEL WALLACE, that the local didn't have. I picked it up off the used markets.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read the first eight Spenser's in order. They were terrific.

James Reasoner said...

I read current mystery series in order, although I miss the days when I could pick up any Perry Mason, any Nero Wolfe, etc., and not have to worry about an extensive back-story. Of course, I can still do that with those books and others from that era, can't I?

I don't read anybody back to back unless I have to for work-related reasons. A number of times I've had to read several books in a series so I could take over writing it, and I didn't care for the experience.

One of the most horrifying things I've ever heard was when a customer in the used bookstore I was running told me he didn't read anything except Louis L'Amour books. "And when I finish 'em all, I just start over again." Sounds like a version of hell to me, and it would have no matter which author he mentioned.

pattinase (abbott) said...

My husband's grandfather did that with Zane Gray. L'Amour was too literary for his tastes.

Richard R. said...

I do try to read series in order, but rarely any of them back to back. I like a change of author and/or genre after a few of any one.

Kelly Robinson said...

I'm sort of obsessive about reading in order, which can be a real pain for authors whose early books are hard to find. I'm making my way through Wodehouse in order, though I've already read the Jeeves stuff that comes much later. It's neat to start at the beginning and see his style develop.

Anonymous said...

It's usually only by random chance (that is, I happen to pick up the author's first book for my first read) that I read a writer's work in chronological order. If the books are part of a series, I will try to read them in order (P.D.James's Dalgliesh mysteries, Cynthia Harrod-Eagles's Bill Slider series), but for the most part, I read books as I acquire them. And I rarely read more than three books in a row by the same author--no matter how much you like their style, it's easy to get burnt out and it's better to take a break between their books.

Deb

Anonymous said...

Deb, I agree. I no longer read a bunch of books in a tow by the same person. In fact, I can't remember the last time I did so. But back in the 70's this was my regular practice.

Jeff M.

George said...

Like you, I tend to read an author chronologically. I read Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series in order. The same with Nero Wolfe. Yet, I found I could read Agatha Christie in any order. There's rarely any backstory to worry about.

Cap'n Bob said...

I was going to say that I'm far too disorganized to read anything in order, but then I remembered the Kinsey Milhone series.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I read them in order until about midway through and then I lost interest for some reason. I think too many book about one person.

Anonymous said...

Things started bothering me more and more about Millhone so I quit after "M". Another was Janet Evanovich, who writes the same book over and over and over. Yes they were funny for a while but obviously she is never going to move the characters forward.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Agreed.

Todd Mason said...

I've never worried about reading the novels in order, with the rare exception of the few trilogies and such that I've read. For example, I started with Muller with TROPHIES AND DEAD THINGS, a brilliant start that hooked me in a way that EDWIN OF THE IRON SHOES wouldn't.

Then there's the internal rather than writing/publishing chronology...do you start with FLETCH, as most did, or FLETCH WON? (I certainly started with FLETCH.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Loved FLETCH!

Todd Mason said...

I liked them all, but CARIOCA FLETCH and FLETCH AND THE WIDOW BRADLEY were pretty weak entries...CARIOCA clearly allowed for a Brazilian vacation to be written off for research and I almost didn't like it at all...I think I have a copy of SON OF FLETCH somewhere, but I didn't crack it yet...